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Dog Days

Dog Days - Elsa Watson When I was asked to do a blog tour for Elsa Watson’s DOG DAYS, I was initially torn. The plot isn’t one of the more thought-provoking ideas ever, but the cover is super cute, and I have a weakness for pink. A dog-fearing human and a lost German Shepherd switch bodies in a freak lightning storm isn’t my favorite concept ever. For some reason, I decided to give this a try, and I ended up being pleasantly surprised.DOG DAYS, as I mentioned, follows Jessica, a human in a town of dog-lovers running a failing café. On the eve of her town’s annual dog festival, Woofinstock, she finds a lost dog and somehow gets struck by lightning, switching her mind with the dog’s mind. With their minds switched, Jessica has to rely on Zoe to control her body and not do anything stupid – like ruin the restaurant, adopt a cat, have sex with skeevy men, or ruin her chances with her town’s hot veterinarian. Where to start? The book splits the narrative between Jessica and Zoe, both in first person, before and after their body switch. Jessica we follow in past tense and Zoe in the present. I’m not a big fan of doing this, but after this book, I’m still not a big fan. It’s kind of jarring to switch from past to present to past to present. Authors use it to create a distinct voice, but between Jessica’s worrisome nature and Zoe’s hyperactivity, that was enough. Otherwise, both of the main characters are very likable, even if Zoe is a bit unbelievable as a dog in a human’s body. Realistically, she’d have been carted off to the psych ward, but this book being fantasy renders that pretty much forgettable. Oh, and the romance was just about perfect. I loved Max! One, I love Japanese guys. Two, I love veterinarians. Three, I don’t really love that he was in love with a girl he’d shared like a grand total of six lines with ever before she showed up with a stray dog one night. Wait. That’s a negative. But I still adored him, especially after things began to click in his head and his role in the story became more important. His interactions with Jessica and Zoe are amazing and sweet. His devotion to his trade made me swoon a little. Did I mention I like veterinarians? Because I find them sexy. Anyone in a lab coat is to die for.The reason this story doesn’t get a full five stars is simple. Jessica and Zoe seem to go through several trials based on Woofinstock events – prettiest dog, agility, a doggie wedding, etc – but there is little cohesion to these events, and little meaning besides Zoe saying, “Let’s enter and win!” It seemed to be more of a series of events connected by random threats than a cohesive line. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it, but it got tiring and I found myself skipping scenes when things got repetitive.Jessica’s story was more compelling to me than Zoe’s. Zoe was worried about finding her family, even licking her former owner in public as a human, but Jessica was worried about every thread in her life – the failure of her restaurant, her fear of dogs, her inability to get back in her body, her mother who abandoned her, and her blossoming love for Max. I rooted for her and cared for her much more than Zoe, who, being a dog, was rather hard to connect with. Jessica, though, was honest and relatable and quickly found a fan in me.I can’t wait to read more of Elsa Watson’s stuff! If DOG DAYS is any indication, and the synopses of her future books as well, then she has a lot of interesting doggie-related stuff up her sleeves.VERDICT: Charming despite a few flaws, DOG DAYS is not for everyone. If you go in expecting light-hearted entertainment, though, this book will warm you and make you laugh out loud many a time!